Sunday, January 2, 2011

Upon This Rock, Pt. 2

"Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, He was asking His disciples,
"Who do people say that the Son of Man is?"
And they said;
"Some say John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; but still others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets."
He said to them,
"But who do you say that I am?"

Simon Peter answered,

"You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."

And Jesus said to him,

"Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven."

Then He warned the disciples that they should tell no one that He was the Christ.

Our Lord makes a very interesting statement to Peter when He says,

"Simeon do you know how truly fortunate, favored and consecrated you are?! You are so blessed that from now on I think I'll call you Rocky! Do you have any idea why you're so blessed Peter? It's not because you just parroted some memorized creed back to me. It's not because you joined my discipleship group. You didn't just "learn" this in Sunday School. It's not something you just figured out on your own - but you are blessed because you have received a revelation of who I am and you received it directly from My Father who is in heaven"

Peter thought to himself, "How cool is that?! I don't know how come, or why - BUT I GET IT, Lord! You're the Messiah, God's King, the 'Consolation of Israel', the Anointed One, the Christos, the Son of the Living God! Hallelujah!"

When I read Peter's response to our Lord, I just can't help being reminded of the film, As Good As It Gets. In one of my favorite scenes, Melivn (Jack Nicholson) - a loud, brash, obnoxious obsessive compulsive patron of the restaurant says to Carol (Helen Hunt) - a waitress and struggling single mother of a chronically sick child:

"I might be the only person on the face of the earth that knows you're the greatest woman on earth. I might be the only one who appreciates how amazing you are in every single thing that you do, and how you are with (your son) Spencer, "Spence", and in every single thought that you have, and how you say what you mean, and how you almost always mean something that's all about being straight and good. I think most people miss that about you, and I watch them, wondering how they can watch you bring their food, and clear their tables and never get that they just met the greatest woman alive. And the fact that I 'get it' makes me feel good, about me."
Melvin, like Peter, received a vision, a revelation or epi gnosis (greek). In Greek gnosis refers to knowledge. This is the word from which was derived the term Gnostics. who were a early heretical sect that claimed special or secret spiritual knowledge. EPI (meaning - upon) and GINOSIS (meaning - knowledge), hence 'upon knowledge' or superimposed knowledge. It implies detailed knowledge that is 'received' rather than learned.

This is what we mean by a revelation (epignosis), a seeing, an unveiling of something that was hidden from view, something others do not or cannot 'see' - a spiritual insight!

As John Newton wrote, "I once was blind but now I see."

Jesus IS building His church, His ekklesia, His congregation, whether we recognize it or not! It is not being built upon the shifting sands of public opinion or educational theory. It is not built upon some theological position, a religious creed or statement of faith. It is not built upon some new spiritual Guru or your or my religious experiences. Jesus' church is not built upon some great prophet, charismatic leader or visionary. It is not built upon some sacred book, religious writing, or oral tradition.

The Church which Jesus is building - out of living stones - is built upon a single revelation. It is a revelation of who He, Jesus Christ IS and upon that revelation it is being built up one person at a time!

So only one question remains.

"Who do YOU say that I am?"


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